Monday, October 5, 2009

Remember To Close Your Questions!

If you're active on LinkedIn, you may have either asked or answered the many questions found on the site's Answer tab. It's a terrific feature where members can ask very specific questions and receive valuable insights from professionals who generously offer their expertise - expertise not so easily gained elsewhere. Some people ask questions that involve business challenges in their organizations; some are looking for a broader perspective for crafting a blog post; while others may use the insights to educate students in undergraduate and graduate classrooms.

Unfortunately, people who take time to answer questions too often discover that it's a thankless task - literally. In many cases, the member asking the question neither writes a quick note of thanks nor properly "closes" the question to acknowledge helpful responses. I can see how it can be easy to forget sometimes, but that doesn't make it right.

As the questioner, you should treat those who take the time to answer your questions as "clients." It's a small courtesy considering that you're asking for their help. I've answered a number of questions on Linkedin, so I know how much time it can take to offer a thoughtful response. Next time you ask a question on LinkedIn, remember to acknowledge those who took time out of their day to respond and don't forget to "close" the question after the allotted period has expired.

Thank you for reading!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Few Words About Priorities

Lately, I've been confronted with more and more examples of two common problems relating to priorities. First, people who state their priorities as one thing but demonstrate their priorities as something else. For example, if you're the company that talks a good game of prizing the concept of teamwork, but rewards and awards employees as individuals, you've got a problem. James Frick wisely stated, "Don't tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I'll tell you what they are." Don't say you value something and not give it any value. See to it that your words and actions are congruous.

Second, sometimes it's helpful to keep your priorities to yourself. Never share with your client that the reason you're not addressing his/her issue until tomorrow is that you have matters involving three other clients that are more important today. Your client does not want to hear that. Either develop the organizational capacity to do more than walk and chew gum at the same time, or have the decency to say you'll address your client's issue tomorrow and then stop talking. Sharing your priorities here will not help you, and unless the timing is problematic for your client, (s)he is not likely to ask why.

If you can think about priorities in this manner internally with regard to your employees and externally when it comes to your clients and other stakeholders, you'll accomplish a great deal in terms of strengthening your brand and building organizational trust. These should be your priorities!



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